Let’s say you’ve got something to sell: a product, a service or maybe even yourself and you’ve got all the basics covered with an excellent product at an excellent price.

Now what marketing tactics can you use to distinguish yourself from your competitors? AND accomplish that for zero dollars?

Beyond all the practical stuff, have you considered offering additional little extras to engage, even delight your prospective audience? On Fifth Avenue recently I watched a street musician do exactly that. It was just before closing time at the Met Museum. The front staircase was packed with departing visitors, usually a fairly jaded crowd. By the time they hit the museum many tourists have already been entertained around town by high flying break dancers, mimes in silver paint posing a la the Stature of Liberty and large boisterous bands.

But it took only a glance at this saxophone player to see he didn’t resemble any of his musical street brothers. Check those blazing red shoes! They were meant to set him apart. And to pique curiosity. And about that tie – a weekend rarity ANYWHERE. It’s a snappy little bow tie, an appealing dapper touch to his cool costume
Now on to his performance. As you can see he’s a blur in this shot, because he NEVER stopped moving, never stopped trying to delight that crowd. Playing off crowd responses, he danced, sang, flew up and down the sidewalk and flipped some fancy acrobatic moves ALL while still playing his horn.

In his quest to delight his audience he was funny too, jerking from one bit of silliness to another. Off balance, the mesmerized crowd stayed with him curious to see what bit of unexpected business he’d come up with next. Nothing was too out of bounds to engage their full attention, Including at one point vigorously waving a little American flag he whipped out of his instrument case.

He never stopped trying to entertain and delight that crowd. And they paid him back with smiles and greenbacks.

The usual one note street musician with few magical cards up his sleeve would have bombed with that crowd. But in Mr. Red Shoes, we recognize a successful marketer when we see one. Combining a unique physical aura, a spirited offering with unexpected little bonuses along the way and a willingness to go the extra mile, he delighted his audience into being delighted to give him money.

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